If you've read my stories you know I'm a big fan of Adam and Hannah, so this story is sort of mostly about them. Hannah wasn't a character you knew too much about - other than what she briefly tells Guthrie in the pilot. I made up my own back story for her. Hope you enjoy this story, as always, I appreciate your thoughts and comments.
Hannah leaned against the doorway. "You finish that math problem set?"
Guthrie looked up from where he was working at the table. "Yep. Crane said he'll check it later."
"An essay rough draft." He looked at the instructions in front of him.
"What about? Essays make me nervous." She said looking at him carefully.
"Nothing like that. Don't worry Hannah." He said with a laugh. "Influences on your life." He wrinkled his nose in disgust. "Wait! I got it!"
He read it aloud as he wrote:
A big influence in my life right now is this essay. I can't go with my sister-in-law into town because I have to write this, which is lame because we got a notice that there's a package for her in town. So, the influence this essay has on me is a negative one.
"There." He said shutting his notebook. "Let's go."
"Guthrie." She said with one hand in her hip.
"Rough draft, Hannah." He grinned at her. "Think of all the room I've left for improvement."
"Alright, but just because I'm curious about this package. You can work on it after dinner."
They ran down the steps and out to the jeep together. She drove down the long driveway where Adam and Crane were working in the pasture. Adam lifted his hat to her waving it as they drove past.
"Did you love him right at first?" Guthrie asked her as they drove toward town.
"Pretty much." She said. "Why? You meet a girl?"
"No way! Girls are trouble!" He laughed. "Mike got a girlfriend and now he has to ask her before he does anything! No thanks!"
"Just curious then." She said shifting gears.
"I guess. He never brought you around or even talked about you, so I didn't see it happen - the falling in love thing."
"It happened pretty quick." She said laughing. "He said it was the same way for your Dad and Mom. Your Dad saw her at a dance and that was it."
"I try not to look at girls." Guthrie said. "I'm always afraid I'm gonna see one and the heaven's will part and light will come down from the sky, and I'll have to get married. I wanna finish jr. high first."
Hannah laughed. "Why don't you aim for finishing college first."
"College? Han - nah! Really?"
"You're really smart Guthrie." She said.
"But I wanna be a rancher, like Adam."
"A college education would still be helpful, Guth."
"You know Hannah, it sure is a good thing I like you so much, because you're kind of pushy."
"What do you mean kind of?" She laughed as they roared through the countryside toward Murphys.
"Registered mail." Pete said. "Gotta sign your full legal name right there Hannah McFadden."
She took the pen and signed the form.
"Must be important for all this trouble." He said going into the back. He handed a small box, the size of a shoe box, to Hannah. "There you go."
"What is it?" Guthrie asked peering over her shoulder. In the eight months since she'd married Adam, Guthrie had grown two inches. He'd pass her up pretty soon; Most folks did sooner or later.
"My sister." She said. "It's from home." He couldn't quite read her expression. And he followed her out and onto Main Street.
"I thought your legal name was your full name." He said.
"It is." She said studying the box.
"But you are Hannah Joy." He said wrinkling his brow. She smiled understanding his confusion.
"I don't have a middle name, Guthrie. Adam just calls me that."
"No middle name? Why not?"
"Let's go home. Or do you want an ice cream? I don't mind."
"Yes, please." They walked to the ice cream stand together. He glanced up at her from time to time.
"I'm sorry." He said. "It isn't my business."
"No, I'm sorry Guth." She reached out and rubbed his cheek. She was always doing stuff like that. It killed him. She was such a girl.
"My mother left my middle name up to my father and the only one he'd picked out was Andrew. But it didn't really match with Hannah." She sighed trying not thinking about her father.
"That's pretty stupid. He wanted a boy so he wouldn't give you a middle name?" Guthrie reached the front of the line. "Strawberry." He glanced at Hannah and she shook her head. "Just the one." He said to the girl behind the counter."
He handed over his money and accepted the ice cream cone. They walked over to a bench where they sat down.
"It is your business." She told him. "We're family. I just don't like to talk about it."
"Why not?" He looked up at her.
"My dad wasn't like Adam." She explained. "He wasn't . . ." She sighed trying to find a gentle way to put it. "He wasn't very nice. He drank. He drank a lot."
"Oh." Guthrie said eating his ice cream. "Want some?" He asked her.
"No thanks." She said looking down at the box.
"Why don't you open it?" He asked her.
"Too scared." She admitted with a laugh. "I'll wait til we get home."
"Why Hannah Joy?" He asked.
"You'd have to ask him." She said smiling.
She didn't open it when they got home, saying she had to make dinner, which was true, but then again it only took a minute or two to open a box. Guthrie was becoming very curious. Hannah was a mystery to him. He liked her, loved her, in fact. He had run out to meet Adam that one Saturday, not so long ago hoping for some candy. He always brought Guthrie candy, and there she was standing beside him.
"We got married this afternoon." Adam said sheepishly. "What do you think of that?"
And shocked Guthrie had run inside to tell Brian. He couldn't believe it. Married! Guthrie watched her as he led her around the house. She was pretty, he could tell, but why would Adam marry her?
Having a girl around the house was like having an alien visit from outer space. She made them put things away, and clean things up. And now he took a bath every single night. She cooked a million times better than Brian, and made pies, cakes and cookies all the time. Hannah hummed when she worked, was almost always smiling, and was quick to laugh. Her skin was soft and she smelled of flowers, and when he was sick or sad, she always knew it. He worried about her sometimes, like after the baby, or when she'd had bronchitis, which had turned to pneumonia after she'd come looking for him in the rain. He still felt guilty about that. He was worried about her now, in fact. She seemed upset, but the worst kind of upset, the kind where she pretended like she wasn't upset.
He wandered outside acting like he wasn't going anywhere in particular, but knowing he was going straight to Adam. He found him in the barn, putting his saddle away and brushing out Chief.
"Hey! Get all that homework finished?" Adam asked.
"I'm done." Guthrie said reaching out and rubbing Chief's nose.
"Finished, Guthrie. Things are done, people are finished." His older brother corrected him.
"Whatever." Guthrie said. Adam looked at him while he brushed out Chief's flank.
"Something bothering you?"
"Hannah doesn't have a middle name." He said which was a pretty odd way to start a conversation when he thought about it.
"Nope." He said. "She doesn't."
"But you call her Hannah Joy." He looked up at his brother.
"Yep." He said looking down at the horse, and not Guthrie. "I do."
Guthrie said nothing, realizing that it was a harder conversation than he expected.
"You got a question in there somewhere?" Adam asked leaning on the big horse.
"She said her father wouldn't pick out a girl's middle name, so that's why she doesn't have one."
"Yeah." Adam said turning and lifting his saddle and putting it away.
"She said he wasn't nice." Guthrie looked up at Adam.
"Guthrie," Adam said putting a hand on his shoulder. "This seems like a sitting down conversation and my feet are killing me. Come on." He led his brother into their father's office. The only part of the ranch that they'd left pretty much untouched. A picture of their mother sat on the desk. Adam sat at the chair at the desk, and Guthrie sat in the old leather club chair that sat beside it.
"I gotta tell you Guthrie, I'm not a real big fan of Hannah's father. He wasn't nice to her. So, why all the questions?" Adam said.
"The package she got was from her sister. It was from home, she said. She hasn't opened it."
Adam sighed and studied his younger brother. "Yeah?" He asked.
"Yeah." Guthrie said.
"You're worried?" Adam asked. Guthrie nodded. Adam sat silently for a long time. One thing he'd learned was that Guthrie was a really good observer - especially when it came to Hannah. And if he was worried, there was probably a pretty good reason to be worried about her. He looked at his baby brother who sat watching him, chewing the inside of his lip. He remembered with shame how angry he'd been at his mother when she'd announced she was going to have another baby. He couldn't imagine his life without Guthrie. He smiled at his brother.
"You are a very good son, you know that Guthrie. She's lucky to have you." He kissed Guthrie's forehead, and rising said, "I'll take care of her. I promise."
"I know that, Adam." Guthrie looked up at his brother. "Why Joy?"
"She is joyful, don't you think?" Adam said smiling and Guthrie nodded his agreement. "She gives me joy." He shrugged blushing. "It fits."
"She should get her name changed, legally." Guthrie said thoughtfully.
Adam smiled and reaching out mussed his little brother's hair.
"Thanks, Guth for keeping an eye on her." He said. "I appreciate it." And Guthrie blushed with pride.